The increased recourse to soft law by the European Union (EU) as a flexible solution to complex social and policy issues has raised several questions about the democratic legitimacy of decision-making at the EU level. With the aim to provide a normative direction for future empirical assessment of EU soft law, this article explores the democratic credentials that EU soft law measures should fulfil to ensure their legitimacy. Drawing from the intersections of liberal, republican and deliberative conceptions of democracy, this article proposes four democratic legitimacy standards for the evaluation of soft law measures in practice: parliamentary involvement, transparency, participatory quality and reviewability.
EU soft law, Democratic legitimacy, Liberal democracy, Republican democracy, Deliberative democracy
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.Material published in the JCER is done so under a CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 licence, with copyright remaining with the author.
- Articles published online in the JCER cannot be published in another journal without explicit approval of the JCER editor.
- Authors can 'self-archive' their articles in digital form on their personal homepages, funder repositories or their institutions' archives provided that they link back to the original source on the JCER website. Authors can archive pre-print, post-print or the publisher's version of their work.
- Authors agree that submitted articles to the JCER will be submitted to various abstracting, indexing and archiving services as selected by the JCER.